Neglected parenting

Neglected patenting: an essential ingredient to transform a child into a bad man. This is true even in the most privileged sections of our so­ciety. The state is juggling a plethora of problems and must realise that a neglected child today is a dis­turbed adult tomorrow. Sarah Inam’s killing, just a year after Noor Mukadam met a similar fate is a further rot of the same chronic wound! We need to raise better men. Period.

It is time to ask: What’s the quality of par­enting available to the kids in our country? How trends, traditions, societal pressures and customs in our society transform a child into an anxious adult leading to a potential offender inside and outside their households.

According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 3 in 4 children - or 300 million children - aged 2–4 years regularly suffer maltreatment around the globe. What we see in men in our society is the manifestation of the treatment these men have been subjected to as a chil­dren—only the manifestation is sometimes exacerbat­ed due to intoxication and the lack of rule of law.

Studies show that more than seventy-eight percent of prisoners were abused as children.

In Pakistan, with no training for the parents; children face sheer neglect and are subjected to severe corporal punishments and humiliation which result in them be­ing disturbed during adulthood.

“Every time I make a mistake; my dad will lock me in the room for the whole night,’’ said Salma, the 25 years old MBA graduate who still finds it hard to sleep alone in a room as she recalls her childhood traumas. Always dreaming of being locked and feeling suffocat­ed her childhood traumas have qualified her roles as a mother and wife. With no one to go to for help and suf­fering continuously and in silence, such children grow into emotionally unbalanced adults and try to avenge the very society which failed them as a child.

Another 22 year old student finds it hard to have eye contact with elders. Beaten into a pulp; the boy relives the memories of the torture he endured as a child.

In a conservative, closed and vastly illiterate society like ours, matters take a grave turn when children are treated badly by their very own parents; either because the par­ents are not qualified enough or are also suffering from depression and anxiety. Most parents have reported men­tioning that childbirth is a very stressful event for them.

It’s time we start addressing the root causes; mere politically motivated cosmetic antidotes might make us look better on the surface, but they will not halt the internal rot and degeneration which has started in our society. Else, the wounds will keep spitting blood out on our faces from time to time.

Pakistan is ranked amongst the lowest countries in terms of child protection and safety. Children of all ages are subjected to mental and physical traumas spanning over the years. According to the UNDP, in ninety per cent of the cases, the tormentors are a close relative or a trusted aid. This is even worse in the case of children with special needs as they are dependent on others for some of their needs and their parents are mostly too occupied to turn to their needs. Hence, they suffer in si­lence with no help in sight. Such incidents develop into traumas and chronic disorders as the child grows, turn­ing him into a preparator in turn.

The government in the past has been sensitizing the teachers about the harmful impacts of corporal punish­ment. It’s time that projects for training potential and new parents must start where they can learn how to be better at raising a child into a valuable citizen of the coun­try. Parenting like any other job and skill needs training.

It’s harder than starting walking as a child for which we all took help and training! With technology; it just requires willingness. Short interactive video cours­es in local languages generating certificates can im­mensely help and should be a must to get the birth certificate of the child. Technology is a friend, use it. Even politically, it will serve us better than tapping, bugging and chipping the opponents.

Muhammad Ali Falak
The writer is a Fulbright Ph.D. candidate at Texas A&M University and graduated from The University
of Tokyo.

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